The new ads in October issues of magazines target affluent men who are passionate about home and car electronics but may not be familiar with the breadth of Pioneer's product portfolio.
Pioneer executives declined to specify the budget. The marketer spent $4.8 million in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The ads from BBDO West, Los Angeles, showcase car and home electronics products as well as the Elite and Premier subbrands.
A print ad for the Pioneer Elite High-Definition projection TV features the headline: "We've done what countless network TV executives couldn't, make TV better."
An ad for a new CD recorder features a shot of the product, its disc tray open to reveal a gold CD and the headline: "Now getting 15 different artists on one CD doesn't require a natural disaster." It's a play on disaster-relief concerts that spawn countless pre-recorded CDs. Pioneer's recorder allows music aficionados to record their own selections instead of having to buy CDs that have only a couple of their favorite tracks.
"The goal was to show all the cool technology that Pioneer makes that guys don't normally see," said Rick Hope, manager of advertising and sales promotion.
Print ads will appear in enthusiast and men's lifestyle targets, plus affluent and business titles such as Cigar Aficionado, Robb Report, Golf, Worth and Fast Company.
Last year, Pioneer scrapped its 60-year-old blue tuning fork logo in favor of a more dynamic, red logo. The move signaled a resolve to beef up its image and extend its sophisticated product heritage to the marketer's brand.
Mr. Hope said a brand study revealed that while Pioneer has strong name recognition, "We weren't getting credit for new and cutting-edge technologies . . . because we haven't gone out and pounded our chest about it."
MORE INTEGRATED APPROACH
Pioneer has taken a more integrated approach to its marketing, using its global CART racing sponsorship as the linchpin of brand ads. Ads now running use a license-plate format with products featured at the left-hand margin and a Pioneer race car in the center. Headlines read: "In the technology race, you'll find Pioneer out front," and "If it doesn't make your pulse quicken, we don't put our name on it."
"The tie is that the technology that goes into racing is the most advanced and Pioneer's technology is the most advanced," Mr. Hope said.
The campaign theme: "Turn it on. Pioneer."
As it evolves its new focus on brand, Pioneer also is developing a digital network entertainment strategy that will enable consumers to access information and entertainment "anywhere, anytime," Mr. Hope said.
Networked home, car and mobile audiovisual systems will be able to communicate with one another. Matsushita Electric Corp. of America's Panasonic, Philips Electronics, Sony Corp. of America and others also are staking out networking